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Inevitably "the paperwork" became a problem.

 

You can't insure a car registered in the UK with a Spanish insurance company. 

You can't "keep" a car outside of the UK and still have it insured back in the UK.

You can't register a car from the UK in Spain unless it has a valid roadworthy certificate.

You can't get a valid roadworthy certificate for a right hand drive car without making some changes to the car. Headlights are one of the things that need changing for example. It generally costs about £1000 to "convert and certificate" a UK car.......

 

The condition of the car was ok, but we were reluctant to spend the grand converting it for European use simply because driving a car with the steerling wheel on the right here is hard work. Especially on the twisty roads. So we opted to get ourselves a cheap Spanish car and use the UK car, without papers, to continue driving around on Ramons farm. It was perfect for that - it handled the dirt tracks fine, you could fill it with tools and stuff. Perfect.

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Then came a bombshell. You are not alowed to drive a vehicle here without valid documentation. Not even on your own private ground! Farmers back in SA who have "an old untaxed bakkie that never leaves the farm" would be prosecuted. Now suddenly we couldn't use the car for anything. 

 

We decided to leave the car out of the way of everyone in the corner of the field/yard where Ramon keeps his trailers and tractor attachments. He was happy with that and the car sat there for a few months with me using it just to keep tools inside. Then came another bombshell. You are not allowed to have an old car sitting on your private land doing nothing without valid documentation!

 

I thought people were joking when they first told me this, but it's true. And if you look around here you will see that no one anywhere, not in the villages and not in the towns, has an old car rotting away in their garden or on their land.

 

I thought I would tow the car to a scrap yard -  but you're not alowed to tow an undocumented car .....

.

Eventually Ramon started getting a bit concerned about the car sitting on his land because the police had crusied by and seen it. I thought I would just quickly tow it up one night onto our own property until we worked out what to do with it.....but that would have involved towing an undocumented car for about 50m on a public road. I was happy to take the chance - I said no one would see us, but it turns out the police don't need to see you do it. If they know the car was "here" and suddenly it's "there" they will ask you how it got from A to B. Apparently "Magic" isn't a valid answer.

 

The car on Ramons land became a major thorn in our side. The nearest scrap yard was an hour away. We phoned them last December to pick the car up but three months later they still hadn't come and then Covid19 arrived instead. I chased them up in Summer and again two weeks ago. Finally they arrived on Friday to take the car away. They didn't charge us anything for picking it up and they didn't pay us anything for its scrap value. 

 

It was a bit sad seeing a perfectly good car that had served us so well be taken away but I guess at least now it's gone now and we can sleep easy!

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Edited by Bonus
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One of the reasons for choosing to live on this side of the Pyrenees was the fact that the weather is so different on the southern side.

 

Northern Europe gets so much of its weather from the west - damp air coming in from over the atlantic -  whereas we don't.

 

I've said on here before, once we're up and running we will definately have a "weather-cam" on our web site so that people sitting somewhere cold and grey can see what they're missing! 

 

 

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Not the first time i have heard this type of BS happening in Spain ,but the read was very entertaining .My brother lives in the UK and when he comes to mainland Europe he rents a car rather than drive his own due to all the regulation about snow tires etc. 

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Good grief, the story of the car is simply unbelievable, talk about being over regulated :huh:

 

Apart from the cost of registering a car here, the biggest deal is the headlights. On "dipped-beam" my UK car was blinding drivers coming the other way because they drive on the right here. We'd have to have found and fitted new LHD headlights. The "scrap car policy" is all to do with not allowing cars to contaminate the ground they stand on......

 

 

Not the first time i have heard this type of BS happening in Spain ,but the read was very entertaining .My brother lives in the UK and when he comes to mainland Europe he rents a car rather than drive his own due to all the regulation about snow tires etc. 

 

Our Spanish car has tyres certified for Mud/Snow use, but if you drive from here up into the high mountains during the first few snow falls of the winter, the police will stop you going up too high without snow-chains fitted over your tyres. They've learned it's easier to stop people than it is pulling them out of ditches!

 

 

Look on the bright side, I bet they don’t have a car jacking / theft problem tho

 

Crime here where we are is almost non-existent. I can't say I miss it! ;-)

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Apart from the cost of registering a car here, the biggest deal is the headlights. On "dipped-beam" my UK car was blinding drivers coming the other way because they drive on the right here. We'd have to have found and fitted new LHD headlights. The "scrap car policy" is all to do with not allowing cars to contaminate the ground they stand on......

 

 

 

Our Spanish car has tyres certified for Mud/Snow use, but if you drive from here up into the high mountains during the first few snow falls of the winter, the police will stop you going up too high without snow-chains fitted over your tyres. They've learned it's easier to stop people than it is pulling them out of ditches!

 

 

 

Crime here where we are is almost non-existent. I can't say I miss it! ;-)

 

 

Winter tyres are not only for snow and ice but also for cold temperatures, the winter tyres rubber compound is better suited for freezing temperatures, wet or dry. In Switz its not law / mandatory to install winter tyres, however the insurance companies can reduce the pay out from a claim if you don't have the correct tyres installed, and the authorities can suspend your license or fine you depending on the police report of the accident.

 

We have a set of winter and summer tyres, the winter ones are installed round about Nov and then removed round about the end of April. Normally people store their tyres for an annual fee with the garage who services the car.

 

Earlier this month we bought a new car which came with summer tyres and a set of winter wheels (rims and tyres) as part of the deal.

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Winter tyres are not only for snow and ice but also for cold temperatures, the winter tyres rubber compound is better suited for freezing temperatures, wet or dry. In Switz its not law / mandatory to install winter tyres, however the insurance companies can reduce the pay out from a claim if you don't have the correct tyres installed, and the authorities can suspend your license or fine you depending on the police report of the accident.

 

We have a set of winter and summer tyres, the winter ones are installed round about Nov and then removed round about the end of April. Normally people store their tyres for an annual fee with the garage who services the car.

 

Earlier this month we bought a new car which came with summer tyres and a set of winter wheels (rims and tyres) as part of the deal.

 

Yep - people here do that too. If fact the boss' daughters car went in today to have winter tyres fitted. 

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On Sunday afternoon we took a stroll up to the old castle ruins above the town of Boltaña - which is where our flat is. 

 

Boltaña, like so many of these old European towns, comprises of the "old town" up on a hill with the new town spread out below it. The castle is higher still, up above the old town. 

 

The footpath up to the castle from the old town is easy enough and not too steep, but if you start off down in the new town, walk up to the old town and then continue on up to the castle you will have climbed a fair way.  :-)

 

 

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Standing up here enjoying the sun and the views, something special happened.

 

At the far end of the road in this picture (too far away to see clearly I'm afraid) are a couple of small buildings on the left where the local Hunters meet. Hunting was on this weekend and by the time we climbed up here on Sunday afternoon the hunters had finished their hunting and were "back at base". Across the road from where they meet is a fenced off patch of ground where they throw away all the stuff they don't want. We didn't actually know any of this until we were standing admiring the views and  "Wendy" saw a vulture glide by overhead. We watched where it went and then worked out what was happening from that because I had remembered seeing the signposted buildings when I'd ridden past there previously.

 

Once we were aware of what was going on we kept a look out and very quickly spotted dozens of vultures gliding down from all directions towards where the carcasses were. In the end there must have been 40 of them. A couple of minutes after seeing our first vulture pass overhead I heard a noise like a plane passing by at high altitude. It was the noise of the wind passing through the feathers of a huge vulture as it glided overhead. I don't know if it's by smell, sight or just knowing where meat gets dumped on a Sunday during winter - but these guys came in from miles around. It took them five minutes to clean up the dump site and then they all flew off in different directions. Some came our way and settled in the sun on a ledge below us. 

 

 

I was just talking to someone last week about how, aside from the attraction of the MTB trails here, we also have the two attractions of amazing local Geology and Birds of Prey . . .  and then this happened. I'm glad out timing was right. 10 minutes later and we'd have missed it all! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Sunday afternoon we took a stroll up to the old castle ruins above the town of Boltaña - which is where our flat is.

 

Boltaña, like so many of these old European towns, comprises of the "old town" up on a hill with the new town spread out below it. The castle is higher still, up above the old town.

 

The footpath up to the castle from the old town is easy enough and not too steep, but if you start off down in the new town, walk up to the old town and then continue on up to the castle you will have climbed a fair way. :-)

That climb sounds like a gentler more spread out version of Platteklip Gorge and a solid, but easy, workout and a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

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Standing up here enjoying the sun and the views, something special happened.

 

At the far end of the road in this picture (too far away to see clearly I'm afraid) are a couple of small buildings on the left where the local Hunters meet. Hunting was on this weekend and by the time we climbed up here on Sunday afternoon the hunters had finished their hunting and were "back at base". Across the road from where they meet is a fenced off patch of ground where they throw away all the stuff they don't want. We didn't actually know any of this until we were standing admiring the views and "Wendy" saw a vulture glide by overhead. We watched where it went and then worked out what was happening from that because I had remembered seeing the signposted buildings when I'd ridden past there previously.

 

Once we were aware of what was going on we kept a look out and very quickly spotted dozens of vultures gliding down from all directions towards where the carcasses were. In the end there must have been 40 of them. A couple of minutes after seeing our first vulture pass overhead I heard a noise like a plane passing by at high altitude. It was the noise of the wind passing through the feathers of a huge vulture as it glided overhead. I don't know if it's by smell, sight or just knowing where meat gets dumped on a Sunday during winter - but these guys came in from miles around. It took them five minutes to clean up the dump site and then they all flew off in different directions. Some came our way and settled in the sun on a ledge below us.

 

 

I was just talking to someone last week about how, aside from the attraction of the MTB trails here, we also have the two attractions of amazing local Geology and Birds of Prey . . . and then this happened. I'm glad out timing was right. 10 minutes later and we'd have missed it all!

I had a lovely experience with a Cape Barn Owl while I lived in Kommetjie, a small village close to Cape Point. I was out walking one morning and noticed a large bird flying towards me. I initially thought that it was a seagull but as it came closer I could see that it was an owl. Must've flown by me just about a metre to my right. It was absolutely whisper quiet and quite something to behold. Your experience sounds quite amazing as well.
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I had a lovely experience with a Cape Barn Owl while I lived in Kommetjie, a small village close to Cape Point. I was out walking one morning and noticed a large bird flying towards me. I initially thought that it was a seagull but as it came closer I could see that it was an owl. Must've flown by me just about a metre to my right. It was absolutely whisper quiet and quite something to behold. Your experience sounds quite amazing as well.

 

Yep. If any of these Birds of Prey came up behind you you'd never know until it was too late! I only heard the vulture once it was passing.

 

Edit:

 

In Jo'burg on the west rand driving through the suburbs on night I followed an owl as it glided down the middle of the road between the street lights and trees. It was stunning.

Edited by Bonus
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